Assessing craftsmanship at early design in product development

Philip N Miller, University of Rhode Island


Consumers now more than ever demand products with the highest quality possible. Often this demand for quality is expressed in craftsmanship. Craftsmanship was originally referred to as the quality of goods produced by the craftsman. Some view craftsmanship as a design issue while others emphasizes inspection and individual workmanship. Currently, most companies do not understand the role of craftsmanship in their products and need to be able to assess the craftsmanship of a product and choose the best from a number of competing designs at early stages of development. ^ This dissertation first explored the relationship between a product's craftsmanship and its price. The research also found out whether a consumer's age or gender impacted his or her assessment of the product's craftsmanship. Forty household and office products were selected. The products fell into eight different product groups with five products in each group. Eighteen different subjects where half were male and half were female rated each product. Each gender group consisted of nine subjects from three different age groups. Four craftsmanship metrics were used to assess the craftsmanship of each product. Each metric was given a priority, representing the importance to the customer. An overall rating was determined by finding the average of the metric ratings. The average and standard deviation of the price was calculated for each category, and individual price within the category was normalized using the standard normal distribution. Regression analysis was applied to correlate craftsmanship with normalized price. Analysis of variance was also conducted to examine the impact of gender and age. ^ The dissertation next explored the correlation of craftsmanship with product assembly attributes. Twelve products that were previously assessed were analyzed by a widely accepted procedure called design for assembly (DFA). Products assembly attributes were extracted from the DFA studies and correlated with their craftsmanship assessments using statistical methods. Correlation models were derived and validated.^ Finally a classification system was developed to identify which metrics needed to be addressed in terms of product improvement. ^

Subject Area

Engineering, Industrial

Recommended Citation

Philip N Miller, "Assessing craftsmanship at early design in product development" (2004). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3135911.